Riding the rise is one heck of a fun way to fish the White River in Arkansas below Bull Shoals Dam. I don’t know if you’d call it a technique or even a style, but it can be some fast and furious fishing. It’s hard core fishing for sure. Riding the rise happens when generation goes from zero generation to heavy generation. This rising water creats a feeding freenzy and the trout will eat just about anything.
Personally I like riding the rise when 4 to 6 units of water are started up. Weak rises just don’t cut the mustard. I get on the leading edge of the water or about 18 iunches of the rise in the clearest section of the water and ride it for as long as I can. We don’t take much time for lunch when we ride the rise or it can pass you by. As the water comes up it churns up the bottom and dislodges the aquatic trout food such as sculpin, crawfish, sow bugs, scud, worms, midges and other trout snacks.
When fishing this rise just about anything tied at the end your tippet will work. Most of the time I’ll use a two fly set up with an indicator or even a dry fly as the indicator. A big humpy is a good fly to use as the dry. Most of the time the two flies I rig fisherman up with are san juan worms in the tan color and a sow bug or a scud shotted above the flies about 18 inches. A number 4 shot works well on a long leader of 9 to 12 feet below the indicator.
When fishing the rise i’m always fishing new water as it is not really feasable to run up and hit the same drift twice because the water will be trashy and mossy. When riding the rise one must be careful not to take out a lower unit on the bedrock in the river. Fishing this rise does take a little bit of practice and it helps to know where the main channels are in areas like Cane Island, Wild Cat shoals, Round House and at Rim Shoals. Working all the intricate nooks and crannies of the river will be productive. Generation patterns must also be conducive to fishing the rise. The past couple of years have seen lots of rain which has led to lots of generation pretty much all the time. Normal rain patterns will bring back normal patterns of generation with shut offs during the evening with generation cranking up at 6:00 am or 7:00 am in the morning.
Working the rise in this fashion is fast paced and a highly productive method of catching lots of fish and provides a good opportunity of hooking a good sized brown trout as well. Riding the rise isn’t something you can plan for but is a handy skill to have when conditions permit. Working the rise requires a skill most do not have and few fly fishing guides have this skill. Only a hand full of highly experience guides with lots of years on the water have acquired this skill as it takes lots of practice.