Henry’s Report is below:
Of Sowbugs and Midges, flies may come and flies may go and the same can be said about hatches but when fishing in tailwaters you can almost always depend upon certain flies. My most dependable flies when It comes to the Ozarks have always been midges, sowbugs, nymphs such as hares ear and pheasant tails, San Juan Worms and Woolly Buggers.
If you were paying close attention you might have noticed that the flies I named and tie are all low in calories and have no cholesterol. This is why they are so popular with our trout.
For the past two or three months I have noticed that sowbugs are taking some of my largest trout on both the Bull Shoals Tailwaters and the Norfork Tailwaters and why I am spending more time fishing them. They will never replace my love for midges but in certain areas in a river they are by far the trout favorite and who are we to tell a trout what is best for him.
The sowbug patterns I have found to work the best are tied in sizes #10 – #16. You might think # 10 is awful large but you must remember the sowbugs here in the Norfork and Bull Shoals Tailwaters get as big cockroaches.
I would suggest you spend more time fishing sowbugs and see if your catch ratio doesn’t increase. One of the trout biologist here in our area said when they exam the stomach contents of trout in most cases sowbugs outnumbered all the other food contents.
Remember Life is Good Here in the Ozarks.
I would echo Henry’s take on sow bugs and find that they also work well on big flows on the White River as well. I will rig up a two flies in different colors to find out which color works best and will then change to the color that gets the most takes. I look for shallow gravel and grassy areas to drift these flies as this is where the “hungry” fish will go to feed. I prefer #14’s on a straight hook with a long leader and two split shot spread apart in the shallow areas (B Shot or BB Shot) so as to get the entire rig down to the bottom. Splitting these shot apart as much as 5 feet helps to eliminate hangups on the bottom.
This can be said for hoppers as well. Especially grassy areas with some structure to it such as holes and rocks. A couple of units of water (4,000 CFS to 6,000 CFS) is pretty good for hoppers. We are coming into our hopper time with the peak in August and September but have also been slinging these bugs in past years well into November. The hopper fishing is a ton of fun as is any surface type fishing.
Another good big water fly I like to use are various types of shad patterns. We some times get shad trickling through the dam at this time and fishing these patterns can work when nothing else will. A bit more weight is required when fishing at depths of 15 feet with the water moving at 8 MPH. I also use a much heaver leader and tippet as I always expect a better fish to take this fly. I go as high as OX or 1X during the winter and back off to 3X during the summer.
Book your summer and fall fishing adventure by calling Jimmy T. at 870-404-8906 The fall always books up fast and October IS the busiest month of the year.
Stay Fishy my friends.