The Bull Shoals Tailwaters of the Arkansas White River is world renowned for it’s production of monster trout. Several state and world records have come from it’s depths and not many rivers in the world can that be said about. The large quantities of sowbugs, midges, worms and sculpins are responsible for the large growth of our trout.
It seems that the most productive method has always been to fish by dead drifting nymphs under an indicator as small as you can get by with and still have it do it’s intended job. Midges are probably the most productive year round fly pattern in sizes 14 – 26, the smaller sizes work the best on the Norfork.
The dead drifting of nymphs is the real trick to fishing in either tailwater, you will find trout rising but the majority of the big ones stay on the bottom unless there is really something special going on top side. Our trout don’t like to fight a lot current or swim a great distance to get to the surface when there is so much food in the bottom layer of the river.
Due to our rivers are so gin clear the fish can and will get spooky, especially in calm or flat water. A little breeze will help as it makes your nymph come alive. With the forth coming minimum flow this summer (we are hoping) wading is expected to get only better due to better oxygenation of the water and fewer releases of off and on water at the dam which only confuses the trout taking them off the feed.
I have found the most productive flies on either tailwaters is midges – Zebra in copper and black, copper and brown and silver and black, pheasant tail midges with copper bead and copper wire, Brassies, Rainbow and disco midges have been very productive here lately. When the midge isn’t working (rare but it does happen) then I go to the Woolly Bugger or a Hares ear soft hackle with a gold bead. If that doesn’t work I turn my fly box upside down, everything spills out and I watch to see what they like. Always carry two fly boxes.
Life is good in Ozarks
Due to the last storm I was unable to give my presentation in Tulsa (ice on the roads) and am hoping to re-schedule at a later date.
We are seeing more wadeable water this week as well as higher temps. The brown trout are moving back into the regular spots they like to hang out in such as the deeper holes and hiding spots. Caddis larvae and pupa as well as pheasant tails should start working pretty soon. Am looking forward to this and we are beefing up the fly selection in the shop to reflect the coming hatches. Midges of course have become a staple on the White River and as well as the regular supply of those we have brought on more of the Davy Wotton midges as well as midges from Richard Ramsay. We like to use local tiers when we can. If you have a fly or two that you think we need to carry contact us so we an take a look at them or drop by the shop with a sample or two.
Stay Fishy My Friends.
Debbie and Jim Traylor
Wishes & Fishes Fly Shop