Most years the White and Norfork rivers will get a shad kill. The key that seems to cause these kills appears to be the surface temps of the lakes. A 42 degree surface temp seems to be the magic number. This morning I dropped a thermometer at a boat ramp just down the road and came up with a temp of 52 which is a few degrees warmer than two weeks ago. I also watched for gull activity below the dam as well. A good sign that shad are coming through is when the gulls dive to the water and take shad from the surface.
When shad get pulled through turbines of the dams and into the rivers it causes some very exciting feeding activity. The trout on these rivers go absolutely berserk and feed voraciously. This can be seen if the shad come through with their swim bladders intact and full of air. Explosive takes on the surface of the water will excite any fisher when this happens. It is THE most fun of all the fishing on the White River. It will get the adrenaline pumping for sure and dang near cause a heart attack when a fisherman has such a take on his/her floating fly from a big brown trout.
Don’t forget to sign up for my shad kill alert by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with shad kill in the subject line. Those who sign up for the alert are the first to know of this event. Don’t forget to pick up the phone and book your trip for feb, march and early april which are the prime months to fish the shad kill. My number is 870-404-8906. Try to avoid friday and saturdays if you can and sundays through thursdays are the least crowded days as large numbers of boats can slow or even shut the fish down.
Special: Book your trip before the end of the year for the month of February. One full day fishing and two nights at River Cliff Cabin for two $448.00 plus tax on lodging $8.82
Two full days fishing and three nights lodging: $897.00 plus tax on lodging of $13.26
A few of the flies I use during a shad kill are pictured above.