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February Fishing: And a Shad Kill.

A mix of both low and hi-water in february brought opportunities for wading and sight fishing.  When the water was down some BIG fish were caught.  I netted a 28 1/2 inch fish that weighed 17 1/2 lbs on a boga grip scale and was on a group with another guide who’s fisherman hooked a near 20 lb fish twice which got off once and the fisherman hooked it again and got it in.  Lots of brown trout in the 18 to 24 inch range were being caught on low water in the Catch and Release area up by the dam on various flies such as egg patterns, san juan worms, trout crack, olive z-lon sow bugs and zebra type thread midges.  Typically the long leader with a split shot and indicator were used with great success bouncing the fly on the bottom and putting it the face of a fish long enough to either get it to feed or piss it off.  On and around February monday 18th the first shad were spotted coming through the dam and on this past saturday I had a fisherman hook and land a 27 inch fish I guessed at 9 lbs.  Last saturday we were drifting a shad pattern deep on six units of water under a very big indicator with 1X 9lb CFC tippet.  We caught three brown trout that day with two others in the 20 inch class along with some nice bows.  It has been crowded up by the dam when generation occurs.  As of this past tuesday at 3:00 PM the water has been shut off and no one can figure out why.  Rumors of course abound from a a drowning to work being on the dam.  The lake is at normal pool of 645.00 ft above elevation and the weather has been cold enough in the hi 20 to produce some demand for power.  Next month the Nuclear power plant in Russelville Arkansas will go done around the 21st for annual maintenance which usually means lots of generation for the White River.  However if we do get some no generation days march will see the first caddis hatches down stream and they will quickly move upstream.  Some dry action can be had at this time.   The shad kill is really the news however and we are all hoping for some more generation so the shad will come through.  Not only is this fishing a heck of a lot of fun but it also brings some great protein for the fish and fattens them up.  If you are headed down this way to fish plan for generation and rent or aquire a boat to fish out of and you  will not be disappointed.  Try different depths and try on the top.  On the top of course is the most fun but sometimes the swim bladders of the shad burst and they will come out the the generators on or near the bottom and that is where you need to be.  If this is the case large or numerous indicators will be needed to suspend your weighted shad fly.  Commonly white jigs, clouser type flies, or anything white, white and grey or grey will work.  You just have to figure out how deep you need to be if not on the surface.    Temps have started to rise somewhat the last few days and this next week we are predicted to be in the 5O’s and near 60’s .  Always bring good rain gear as our thunderstorm season usually begins in march. Good fishingJim Traylor 

By JimTraylor

I have 25 years experience guiding on the White River and have taught 100's of folks how to fly fish. I welcome newcomers. My casting instruction technique is simple, gentle, easy going and highly productive. All trips are catch and release only.

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