White River Tailwaters Fishing Report 06.14.12
Submitted by Berry Brothers Guide ServiceSubmitted on 06/14/2012
During the past week, we have had a minor rain event, warm temperatures and windy conditions. The lake level at Bull Shoals Dam fell one tenth of a foot to rest at two tenths of a foot below power pool of 654.00 feet. This is forty one and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake remained steady at one and seven tenths feet below power pool or seventeen and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell six tenths of a foot to rest at three and two tenths of a foot below power pool or twelve and eight tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we have had little generation with significant wadable water. Norfork Lake dropped seven tenths of a foot to rest at one and seven tenths feet below power pool of 552.00 feet or twenty nine and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we have had reliable wadable water every day. All of the lakes in the White River system are below flood pool. We should receive more wadable water this week.
On the White, we have had significant periods of wadable water all week. The wade fishing has been spectacular. The hot flies were zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead), pheasant tails, copper Johns, gold ribbed hare’s ears and green butts. Other productive flies were partridge and orange soft hackles and Dan’s turkey tail emerger.
The water has been so low that navigation of the White River has been difficult at times. We are still discovering many subtle changes to the river. Many holes have been filled in, new ones have appeared and the gravel has shifted significantly. Move up and down the river carefully. The ramp at the state park will be closed during the week for the period June 11 through June 24. It will be open on the week end.
The hot spot has been the section from Wildcat shoals down to Cotter which received a sulphur hatch, our major mayfly hatch of the year. These are yellow orange mayflies in size fourteen. Before the hatch use mayfly nymphs like gold ribbed hares ears, pheasant tails and copper Johns. During the emergence, switch over to partridge and orange or partridge and yellow soft hackles. Once the trout begin keying in on the adults, switch to the sulphur parachutes. Be sure and achieve a perfect drag free drift. This year’s hatch seems to be a bit sporadic and unpredictable.
The next big hatch is the grasshoppers. These are terrestrials not aquatic insects. They are blown into the water by wind or fall in near the shore. They are large tempting morsels that can draw big fish. Use a nine foot 4X tippet and cast near the bank. Occasionally twitch the fly to imitate a struggling insect. Dave’s hoppers and large foam western hoppers are effective patterns. Use a small nymph as a dropper (a pheasant tail or a zebra midge is a good choice) to increase the takes.
Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low and gin clear. Both are still navigable but you may have to drag your boat in some spots. Several anglers (including me) have reported success with Clouser minnows and crawfish patterns. The Buffalo has been fishing particularly well. 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 reliable wadable water on the Norfork every day. The Norfork has benefitted from the low water on the White. With more fishing opportunities on the White, the crowding on the Norfork has substantially decreased. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red) and Dan’s turkey tail emerger or soft hackles like my green butt or the partridge and orange. There has also been a major hatch of Sulphurs on the Norfork. Start with copper Johns before the hatch and switch to partridge and orange soft hackles when the trout begin keying in on the emergers. Once the trout begin taking adult mayflies switch over to sulphur parachutes. The ramp at Quarry Park has been repaired and is open for business.
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). Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. The summer vacation season has begun and there will be more fishing pressure on the creek. Fish early, late or during the week to escape the crowds. If your favorite spot is taken move around and try fishing new water. There are good fish everywhere.
The water level on the Spring River is lower and clear. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is upon us and the boats are a major nuisance. You should consider fishing at the Lassiter Access, which is above the canoe section, to avoid crowds. 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.
Practice water safety and always check conditions before you leave home.
PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM THE SUN
BY JOHN BERRY
Years ago, when I was a lad, it was quite fashionable to sport a tan. In fact, the very act of tanning was a lifetime obsession for some. People would lie in the sun soaking up sun rays until they had a dark bronze skin color. This was always a problem for me as I am of Scots Irish heritage and have the complexion of a red head. I have never been tan in my life. I have always had some level of sun burn. By the time I returned from my second tour in Viet Nam, (after a long stretch in the tropics) I had finally come to realize that I would never tan and that my only hope was to protect myself from the harmful rays of the sun.
In the intervening years we have all come to realize that too much sun exposure can be a bad thing for our health. You not only have to fear skin cancer but you could also face the premature aging of your skin. My wife, Lori, just had a small but questionable growth removed from her cheek and was told by her Dermatologist that she had already suffered some sun damage to her skin.
My desire to protect my skin from the sun is greatly complicated by my chosen profession as a fishing guide, which requires me to spend a lot of time outside in a boat or wading a stream. In both of these locations, there is nowhere to hide from the sun. On my days off, I am either fishing on my own in the same places or working in my yard, once again, outside.
My simple method to protect myself is to leave little if any exposed skin. In the summer (and most of the spring and early fall) I wear long sleeved tropical shirts and pants. They are cool, dry quickly (if they get wet), and are pretty durable. I have my company logo embroidered on each shirt and they also present a professional appearance.
A baseball hat may keep the sun out of your eyes but does not provide much protection for your ears and neck. My chosen head gear is a broad brimmed straw hat which protects my face ears and neck. The panama hats are my favorite but I have trouble finding one with a brim wide enough. My current hat is a Stetson River Guide. Its brim is plenty wide and it features a chin cord to keep it in place, when the wind is blowing. I have found that the straw hats are not very durable and even a good one will only last about two years. On the other hand, I have worn the same felt cowboy hat for thirty years and it is still in good shape.
I have also recently acquired a classic up/downer. This was the popular hat style for fly fishers when I took the sport up many years ago (Lefty Kreh is always photographed wearing one). They have a long bill like a baseball hat in the front to shield your eyes from the sun and a shorter brim in the back to protect your ears and neck. I have found it to be quite effective and comfortable. I have had a few comments from other guides about my questionable fashion statement but pay no attention to them.
To protect my hands, I always wear sun gloves. They are light, comfortable and fingerless. I can wear them constantly and have no trouble tying knots or running my boat. I always keep a spare pair in my fishing vest. They do not last long and I have to replace them every year.
My chosen foot gear is boat sandals. While they are comfortable, dry quickly and provide sure footing in the boat, they do not provide complete foot protection and I sometimes end up with a spotty sunburn on the top of my feet caused by the sun hitting areas not covered by the sandal straps. To prevent this I wear light weight socks. Lori does not like this look and I do not like it when they get wet. To overcome this problem, I have just ordered some lightweight boat shoes that will offer more protection and not require my wearing socks.
I used to wear a bandana to protect my neck or my face. Now there is a new article of clothing that functions better, the Buff. It is a light stretchable tube that can be worn on the neck or pulled up to protect your face. This has become a standard fashion item for many local guides and is basic survival gear for tropical saltwater guides.
The other school of thought is to expose your skin but protect it with the use of sunscreens. The best bet is to use the highest SPF sunscreen that you can find and apply it before you go out in the sun and reapply it as needed. There are some waterproof sunscreens that are well suited to fishing.
I also know one local angler that sometimes rigs a big beach umbrella in his boat to protect him from the sun and to keep him cool on brutally hot days. I am certainly impressed with his creativity but I am concerned that it would interfere with my clients casting.
Whatever you do, be aware of the harmful effects of the sun and take positive steps to protect yourself. It may save your life.
Sonny V. asks: Why are they running low levels of water on one river or the other most days.
Sonny, we are encountering some warm water conditions downstream and they are running a bit of water to prevent a major fish kill.