The Norfork Tailwaters have become a waders paradise, low wadeable water most days, big hard fighting trout (there is a reason several records have come from these tailwaters) and some of the best midging opportunities in the area.
My most productive flies have been zebra midges in camel and copper and black and silver, rainbow warrior and PT midge. All these midges are in sizes #24 – #18. If your looking for top water action and who doesn’t enjoy having the water explode with a trout pouncing on your dry fly, don’t leave home with out several “F” flies in # 24 – 20. There are now several anglers who carry nothing but “F” flies when they go to the North Fork.
Some of you may be aware that minimum flow has begin on the Bull Shoals Tailwaters, or at least what is believed to be minimum flow. This seems to be around 674 cfs + or – a few cfs.
Has this changed the way your going to fish the White? For those of us of the tried and true fly fishing type – YES – . My experience so far and I’m still re-learning the river, is the rise in water is maybe 12″ – 2 feet (depending on where and how wide the river is where you are fishing) is not so much of a concern as is the power or force of the current. You could get swept off your feet in a hurry. By all means wear a wading belt and cinch it tight, carry a wading staff and make sure your insurance is paid up to date (joking kind of).
In fishing a section of the White yesterday in the upper mid section, I was unable to get what I always felt was one of my most productive areas because of the swiftness of the water. I waded back to the shore and watched the river for awhile and to give the river time to talk to me. I begin to notice area’s that appeared to be holding areas such as you find in Dry Run Creek that were out of the main current and in softer water closer to the bank. Bingo, there they were and I ended the morning with about a good of a morning as I have ever enjoyed.
There was a difference however in the flies I used. I still used midges (I love midges) but I used heavier midges that would get down quick and stay there. Again, zebra midges, PT midges with CDC dubbing around the thorax in #18 – #14 with tungsten bead heads and rubber legged woolly buggers tied heavy caught me all the fish I could handle.
Four additional anglers showed up as the morning progressed and after a brief conversation everyone ended the morning on a high note with everyone catching a good quantity of fish.
If you have any questions or need any advice or flies don’t hesitate to drop by Wishes and Fishes. Their flies are tied by professional White River guides for the purpose of making a living, but they may allow someone like you to buy one also.
Life is good in the Ozarks