Floodgates~Big Water and Fishing

This week the COE opened the flood gates at Beaver dam as the lake level was approaching the top end of 1130 ft or the very top of the flood pool.  This of course helped alleviate the possibility of water going over the top of those gates as you can see from the chart below.  This along with generation got the problem under control.

BEAVER GRAPHS    via the Corps of Engineers mobile app

Table Rock lake is doing OK at this time with the level at 926.30 and well below the top of the flood pool of 931.00.  Table Rock is of course releasing water through heavy generation but is able to handle pretty much any water beaver can throw it’s way at this time.


Bull Shoals lake is the big tub that holds all this water back that is sent down from both Beaver and Table Rock.  Eventually all the water in Beaver will end up going through Table Rock and then through Bull Shoals.  The top of the flood pool for Bull Shoals is 695.00 ft above MSL and the lake level is currently at 691.41 as of this writing.  Bull Shoals has been holding back on generation due to conditions further down stream thus also causing the lake to rise a bit faster.  All of these dams are doing the job they were intended to do.  More rain which is not in the forecast would of course change all of this.  With Bull Shoals so close to the top another bout of rain like we had the past few days would have increased the likely hood of flood gates being open to relieve the pressure.  As we have learned in the past when these lakes get full and the inflows are great the COE must at least match those inflows with corresponding inflows which as we have seen in the past can do some great harm to homes and property along the river.  That is something no one wants to see.

At this time it does not look as though Bull Shoals will be opening any flood gates and if they do I doubt if will be of any significance.  This assumes no more rain for the week.

Big water is coming again though.  We did have some last month when conditions down stream permitted and with each passing day those conditions improve and we will begin seeing more and bigger generation.  The past few days however morning generation has been pretty low with a 1/2 to a couple of units online which have actually created some wading opportunities nearer the dam and at a few points down stream.

Bull Shoals Graphs

Over the past several years of big water pretty much most of the guides on the White River have no fear of fishing this type of water.  We’ve had plenty of practice with 8 units and two events with flood gates open which have proved to be a spectacular time to fish for brown trout on this river.

So don’t be afraid of the big water coming.  Welcome it as it can be some spectacular fishing.  As most guides on this river will tell you it’s not the big water that makes the fishing tough it’s the fluctuation from big water to smaller water and back up that  messes with the catching.  Here are some of the type of flies most guides will be using on big water.  Midges of course and we might size up to a size #14.  San Juan worms of various colors along with some pre-rainbow emergers (Eggs) of various colors, Sow bugs of course and perhaps some scud. Streamers over structure ect.  Over the past 20 years of guiding on this river I have also learned that big water for extended periods of time will also bring some shad through the dam. Terrestrials of course along the bank can be some hot fun as well and bring some good sized with to the net.   It’s not difficult water to fish but you do have to choose your spots and work several of them over the course of the day.  Sometimes a spot can only handle so many drifts and so many boats fishing it.  So know before hand what areas of the river you may want to fish.  I generally will work an area from the dam all the way down to Wild Cat Shoals and back up selectively choosing spots.  We’ve always had a saying about the river  BIG WATER=BIG FISH.

870-404-8906  Call and book today.  We have 4 guides available to fulfill up to a group of  8. No experience necessary and we provide all the gear, equipment, terminal tackle and various products for hydration.  We also include lunch for the fisherman who wants to fish all day.  Call for our half day beat the heat specials when fishing is best in the mornings and much cooler.  We also recommend bringing a light jacket to start the mornings out.  You will need it.

Good fishing

Jimmy T.

About JimTraylor

Jim has 22 years experience guiding on the White River, teaching folks how to cast, pay and land fish is his passion.
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