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White River fishing heats up


Arkansas anglers seeing success with summer just around the corner

By Jim Harris

Arkansas Wildlife Editor

Here’s a report of what’s happening along the White River in Central Arkansas this week:

(870435-6525) said, “Summertime and fishing go together like peanut butter and jelly, and kids and fishing are a pairing made in heaven. The trout bite has been easy this week for kids, parents, grandparents and every fisher under the sun. Get to the river early while it's still cool and while the water level is relatively low to enjoy the best of the day.”

“Lots of success with spinners and spoons on the low water; the sparkle from gold or silver Cleos is attracting really nicesized rainbows. The nickel/gold Colorado and a Mepps 1/2-ounce spinner with a gold blade will be hard to resist, too.”

“White River water levels have been especially low during morning and early afternoon hours, with late afternoon releases bringing a rush of cold, clear water for a whole different fishing adventure: weighted line and worms (nightcrawlers, red wigglers, bubblegum pink or San Juan) will help. Drift-fishing from a jon boat takes the frustration out of high-water fishing.”

“Brown trout catches continue to delight the anglers around Cotter, mostly with live bait taken from the river (minnows, crawdads, sculpins), but we heard that more than one brown was hooked with shrimp and PowerBait. Enjoy the best of summer with the best The Natural State has to offer: trout-catching on the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks.”

John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Monday afternoon that during the past week they had an inch in Cotter, unseasonably cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 1.8 feet to land at 26.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl.

This is 6.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 2.4 feet to rest at 5.6 feet above seasonal power pool and 8.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at 7.1 foot above seasonal power pool and 1.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had significant wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 1.7 feet to rest at 15.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 7.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water this past week.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains with more expected! So, expect high levels of generation in the near future.

On the lower flows, the fishing on the White River has been good! The top spot has been the Narrows. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper).

John also said, “On Sunday earlier this week I received an advance copy of ‘Fly Fishing

See FISH, page A9 FISH

From page A8

The White and Norfork Rivers: The Guides Speak.’ It was edited by Keith Campbell. This is a book about flyfishing our local rivers. Its premise is to present in-depth interviews of fly-fishing icons Dave Whitlock and Dale Fulton. There are also interviews with seven local guides: Steve Dally, Chad Johnson, Ron McQuay, Jim Traylor, Hank Wilson, Davy Wotton and me. I received an advance copy because I was interviewed for the book.”

“In addition to the interviews, there are chapters on the White River and Norfork tailwater (including history and safety), maps of the White and Norfork and suggestions for different styles of fishing.” “I was most interested in the interviews with the icons on the White and Norfork, Dave Whitlock and Dale Fulton. I was an early fan of Whitlock.

I have all of his books, several pieces of his art and have listened to his lectures for years.

I have learned a lot from him.

He is also one of the greatest fly-tyers around. I regularly fish his patterns and have caught an incredible number of fish on them. I found his interview fascinating and found out things about him that I never knew before.”

“The interview about Dale Fulton was especially meaningful to me. He passed away a few years ago. We were friends and I miss him. I worked for him as a guide years ago at his Blue Ribbon Fly Shop and I learned a lot about guiding from him. After I established myself as an independent guide, I would stop by and talk to him whenever I was near the shop or would stop by his lodge to chat. His interview told me a lot about him that I never knew.”

“I know and have worked with almost all of the guides included in the book. They are all solid guides who know how to catch trout. Each guide explained his guiding. The interviews were all similar in some of the questions asked.

‘How did you get started in guiding?’ This is where every guide had a different story.

They were all interesting. The best question was common mistakes I see my clients make. I really thought that this would be useful to any reader. They were also asked about their favorite flies and how we could grow bigger rainbow trout.”

“There is also a section on flies that has photos and recipes for the guide’s favorite flies.” FISH

From page A8

favorite flies.”

“This cost to publish this book was provided by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers and the club president, Dave Boyer. Proceeds from the book are earmarked for selected youth programs in Baxter and Marion counties. The book will be available in local fly shops and through the North Arkansas Fly Fishers. I heartily recommend the book for anyone who fishes here or plans to.”

John Berry is a fly-fishing guide in Cotter and has fished our streams for over 35 years. John can be reached at (870) 435-2169.

(870-453-2424) said Saturday afternoon that the river level is normal with two or three generators running in the afternoons; the Army Corps of Engineers shuts the water off in the morning.

Trout fishing overall is good.

The best baits to use are pink PowerBait, Little Silver Cleo’s, Rooster Tails in light greens and browns, worms and shrimp.

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